Monday, July 21, 2014

In love with Cylon (not the one you think, though)

My mom asked me to create a watch band using a watch face that she liked.

I looked at different weaves and settled on the cylon weave.

This is a mini version of cylon, using smaller rings.  And I do mean "smaller."  The blue rings in the middle are 3/32 inch -- the smallest rings I've ever used.

I am so proud of how it turned out, though.  I think it's perfect and am already planning a cylon cuff for myself.

You can find instructions for the cylon cuff here on Blue Buddha's site.  The instructions give ring sizes for the regular version (using larger rings) and this version.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Another Michaels Challenge!

I was so excited to see Heather Powers and Lorelei Eurto were hosting another Michaels challenge.

Heather picked out the beadss using this as her inspiration.

The colors in the paisley fabric are so awesome!  And Heather picked out the perfect beads to match!

(Both of these are Heather's photos.  I completely forgot to take a photo of the beads before I started playing.)

I love the fuschia and the blues and greens -- gorgeous colors and ones I seldom choose for myself.

When I got these beads, I had been playing with Gwen Fisher's Conway Bead design.  I whipped up a few, thinking it would be fun to include them.

The Conway beads are slightly bigger than the large green beads, but I think they work well.

I also used the white rondelles and the brown cube beads along with the green ones.

I made a half Persian 3 in 1 chain to go with the beads and managed to create a necklace.  :)

After I finished this, I realized that I pulled the beads I was most comfortable with -- green, brown, earthy tones.  I added a bit of pink to the beaded beads, but conveniently forgot the pink and blue Michaels beads.

I grabbed those beads -- jewel tones I don't usually work with -- and decided to create something with those.

I turned to a favorite pattern from Sabine Lippert and used the pink beads to create a Bollywood version of her Granada pendant.  (You can find the pattern for this in Sabine's book, Beaded Fantasies.)

I wanted to make an elaborate necklace to showcase the pendant and tried several different things, none of which seemed right to me.

In the end, I went with something simpler.

I love the green sari ribbon.

These are colors I never ever .. ever would have chosen and I am so pleased with how this turned out.

I took a part of the Granada pendant and made a single components.  They made great earrings.

At one point during my necklace trials, I made a few drops with the blue/gold beads.  Not one to let anything go to waste, I whipped up this simple pair of earrings.

I was sad that I didn't find a use for the brown rectangle flower beads.  However, I did use them in the last Michaels challenge.  That counts, right?

Heather and Lorelei, thank you for a fun challenge!  I have a new favorite necklace thanks to the two of you!

Please check Heather's blog for the link up and see what the other participants did with these beads.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Recently, I've been playing around with Cindy Holsclaw's Double Pinwheel Beaded Beads.

These guys are so cute and bead up in a snap.

Cindy gives directions for five different sizes, which is great for something like this.

This necklace is inspired by Erin Siegel's "Greenwish Punk Necklace" in her book, Punk Chic Jewelry.  I loved the design and whipped up a quick half Persian 3 in 1 chain to complete the necklace.

However, the pinwheel beads seemed to large for the smaller chain.

I made a larger chain using the same weave and I think it works much better.

I also made a small pair of pinwheel beads and paired them with charms from Sharyl's Jewelry.

I thought they turned out nicely.

You can find more of Sharyl's charms and beads in her artfire store.

Cindy sells her tutorials and kits in her store, Bead Origami.

Erin has other tutorials for sale in her etsy shop and her book is available here on Amazon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Conway Beads

One of the things I love about Gwen Fisher is the way she uses beads to create complicated mathematical shapes.  Her Conway Beaded Bead is a perfect example.

The tutorial is aimed toward experienced beaders.  Gwen designed the Conway bead using tetrahedrons and triangular prisms made with a modified cubic right angle weave (or, in this case, tetra right angle weave?).

Gwen gives instructions for two different bead sizes, but suggests trying the larger size first (with good reason).

Not one to go the easy route, I started on the smaller one.

The first step gave me a bit of trouble because I couldn't visualize the shape or the beaded structure.  Gwen's illustrations and photos were very helpful and I followed her thread path, confident that she wouldn't lead me astray.

Step 2 was easier and, after the third step, it "clicked."

After that, it was (mostly) smooth sailing.

If you try this pattern (and I highly recommend that you do), remember that the first few stitches are fiddly, but it gets much easier (and faster) and you progress.

The next bead went very quickly.   The bigger beads were easier to work with and I had the pattern down.  Gwen mentioned in her blog post that the design is intuitive and she is totally right.  I was able to do the second without double checking the pattern.

I even made a small one using size 15 seed beads.

These little beads are fun to make and, once you get the hang of it, they work up very quickly.

I might have a problem.

You can find the tutorial for the Conway bead here.  You can find more of Gwen's patterns on her etsy shop and you can find other designs by Gwen and Florence Turnour on their website, Bead Infinitum.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

More Intricate Chain Maille

I think this is quickly becoming my favorite weave.

The colors are taken from Blue Buddha's Spring kit for "Large Coiled Butterfly" (a building block for Intricate Chain Maille).

I think it will work for summer also.  :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jens Pind Linkage

As you know, I've been mailing as much as I've been beading.

The other day, I decided to try my hand at a somewhat difficult weave -- jens pind linkage.  From what I can tell, this weave can scare even the most experienced chain mailers.

I started out with Sue Ripsch's pattern from her book, Classic Chain Mail Jewelry With a Twist.  I was surprised that I was able to start the weave without any trouble.  Keeping it going, however, proved to be harder.

Jens Pind is a spiral weave and each new ring matches the orientation of the 3rd ring back.  While this sounds straight forward, it's hard to see the emerging pattern (especially when using all copper rings).  I took out more than a few rings in learning this weave.

I finally turned back to ZiLi's tutorial (ZiLi is a chain maille genius and a regular on the chain maille facebook group I've joined) and something clicked.

I am really taken with this weave.  It's both delicate and hefty.  The spiral pattern is amazing.

I only had enough of the proper size rings to make a bracelet.  I paired my chain with a focal from Staci Louise Originals.  Staci's bead looks amazing with the copper.

The intimidating jens pind may now by my favorite weave.

I'm excited to try JPL 5, which is the same weave, but using 5 rings instead of 3.  (I think I need to order more rings.)  :)

As I menI've already ordered more rings.  I can't wait for them to get here.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dancing Rivolis

I love reading reviews -- of books, make-up, iPad apps, recipes, and anything in between.  (I even have the kiddo reading app reviews before asking if she can download an app.  "Please, Mommy, all these people said it was good.")

I really love the reviews, though, in which the reviewer "missed something."  I'm sure you've all read the shrimp scampi review from the person who used chicken instead of shrimp, used butter spray instead of butter, didn't have scallions, so used dried something or other, and decided to bake the dish instead of sautee.

That said, I'm not above "tweaking" a recipe from time to time, or even a design, though I try to remember that any difficulties result from user error.

Case in point:

When I saw Laura Luepke's "Dancing Cabs Necklace" in the June issue of Beadwork magazine, I immediately wanted to try it -- like that minute.

Of course, I didn't have cabs ... or brick beads, but I didn't let that stop me.  I dug out some rivolis (not in the right sizes) and went to work.

The centerpiece of Laura's necklace is embroidered.  When I grabbed my bead backing, I realized that my rivolis wouldn't lie flat like a cab.  Instead, I bezeled them.  I ended up with a bit of funky stitching to attach the superduo beads (in place of the brick beads) to the bezel, but the result was worth it.

I hope that I captured the essence of Laura's beautiful design, even if I went about it in a different way.

I really like the strap.  It's a lovely variation on the daisy chain.

If you want to make a necklace of your own, but don't want to end up off the path like I did, Laura offers several kits in her etsy shop.

I had the good fortune to meet Laura at Bead and Button last year, and see a bit of her work in person.  She is sweet and super talented.

If you would like to see more of her work, check out her website and blog.  You can also follow her on facebook.